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Old 05-17-2010, 01:53 PM   #1
Allen Beebe
Location: Portland, OR
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

Quote:
Phil Van Treese wrote: View Post
My big break was when Tomiki Shihan allowed me to come on the mat and when he invited me to learn.
Can you tell us more about what training with Tomiki Shihan was like? For example: What did he emphasize? How did he teach? Did he use a distinct pedagogical structure? If you took ukemi for him how did that feel?

I really enjoy comparing what different students of Ueshiba sensei from that era took away with them. I think it is interesting to note the commonalities and differences.

You can PM me if you think your answer will derail the thread.

Thanks!

Allen

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 05-18-2010, 03:04 PM   #2
mickeygelum
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

Quote:
Can you tell us more about what training with Tomiki Shihan was like? For example: What did he emphasize? How did he teach? Did he use a distinct pedagogical structure? If you took ukemi for him how did that feel?
Mr Van Treese,

Please start an AikiBlog, so all may benefit from your experience and knowledge of being a direct student of Professor Tomiki.

I would greatly appreciate reading about your training, and the personality of Professor Tomiki.

Please tell us about Ohba sensei and his relationship with Professor Tomiki in the formulation of Shodokan. I am anxious to hear the details.

Many thanks, in advance , Sir!

Train well,

Mickey
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Old 05-19-2010, 12:20 PM   #3
Phil Van Treese
Dojo: Tampa Judo and Aikido Dojo, Tampa, Fl
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

To answer Mr. Beebe's question----Working with Tomiki Shihan was watching poetry in motion. He was about 6'4" tall and no nonsense. Before class and after class he was very congenial. On the mat was all business and he was a perfectionist. If your toenail wasn't right, he'd correct you. He was extremely smooth in all his movements and the smoothness came from the way he'd move his hips. His tenkan, irimi and tenkai were all with the hips but not a forceful move. He was very fluid and you could see that in his circular movements. He was a ballroom dancer and used the ballroom steps in his movements. He never used, to my recollection, any predetermined stance. It was all natural but at all times your hands were in front between you and your "enemy". That to him was a barrier the "enemy" had to cross to get to you. As he tried to get to you, you should already be around him, or to his side etc effecting your technique. He was also an 8th dan in judo so we went to the mat also. He was untouchable on the ground and we were drilled on many ways to take someone down and to finish him/her on the mat (or ground). His favorite tachi waza was Irimi Nage and Juji Nage. He would throw very hard (except beginners of course) but no one ever had any fear because he would always throw correctly. Fabulous instructor.
Hideo Ohba Shihan and Tomiki Shihan were life long friends. 2 peas in a pod so to speak. Ohba Shihan had great movements in his hips too but he stressed hand movement a little more as he would demonstrate with Ikkyo, yonkyo etc. He would love to get behind people and do chokes like Hadaka Jime (naked Choke) and Kata ha jime. Ohba shihan also had judo training. When Tomiki shihan died in December, 1979, Ohba shihan took over. He was also a perfectionist. Neither shihan would go for anyone if they didn't throw correctly. If you threw them, it's because you threw them. They just didn't go because they were "nice". They're feeling was that to see if you were doing a technique correctly, you would have to do it to them so they could "feel" it.
I am glad I had the opportunity wioth both of them and they certainly knew how to teach.
Shodokan Aikido (Tomiki Aikido is what I will always call it) was formed because Tomiki Shihan wanted a "test" to see if techniques worked. That's why he "invented" tournaments so the waza could be applied in a real like situation. O-sensei didn't like it because he thought Tomiki shihan was turning Aikido into a sport and not a martial art so that's where the split was. Tomiki aikido is off the beaten path since we also still do matwork (shimi waza and kansetsu waza), reversals and counters, etc.
I hope that answers your question(s) and probably opened the oor to many others.
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Old 05-19-2010, 01:18 PM   #4
Allen Beebe
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Re: Training with Tomiki Sensei

Dear Mr. Van Treese,

Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful reply. If any further thoughts come to mind in time I'm sure I, and others, would enjoy reading them as well!

Good training to you,
Allen

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Old 05-19-2010, 04:48 PM   #5
dps
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

Quote:
Phil Van Treese wrote: View Post
Neither shihan would go for anyone if they didn't throw correctly. If you threw them, it's because you threw them. They just didn't go because they were "nice". They're feeling was that to see if you were doing a technique correctly, you would have to do it to them so they could "feel" it.
I am glad I had the opportunity wioth both of them and they certainly knew how to teach.
Tomiki Sensei and Ohba would take ukemi?

David
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Old 05-20-2010, 03:05 AM   #6
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

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Phil Van Treese wrote: View Post
Tomiki aikido is off the beaten path since we also still do matwork (shimi waza and kansetsu waza), reversals and counters, etc.
If this is true, why then did Tomiki remove all Judo waza from his framework for competition and why did he add the tanto to the framework later on as an element to preserve the distance between participants, thereby minimizing the opportunities for Judo waza?

Best
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 05-20-2010, 08:15 AM   #7
phitruong
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

Quote:
Phil Van Treese wrote: View Post
Working with Tomiki Shihan was watching poetry in motion. He was about 6'4" tall and no nonsense.
thanks for sharing. 6'4"? Huge guy for Asian! he ate judoka for breakfast?
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Old 05-20-2010, 11:35 AM   #8
chillzATL
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Re: Training with Tomiki Sensei

Nice read, thanks much. So rare to hear anything about Tomiki aikido, much less training with Tomiki sensei himself.
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Old 05-20-2010, 12:43 PM   #9
Phil Van Treese
Dojo: Tampa Judo and Aikido Dojo, Tampa, Fl
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Re: Training with Tomiki Sensei

As a Judoka also, Tomiki didn't remove all the judo from his framework. He taught it as a blending and not a separate art. The ashi waza (footwork) was a combination of ballroom and judo movements. That's why Tomiki shihan was considered an "outsider" since all the others thought he was going to turn aikido into a sport and not a martial art.
Tomiki Shihan was very tall and on the slim side but powerful in ki and movements. Yes, Tomiki Shihan and Ohba Shihan would take ukemi. 2 reasons why----1) to show the proper way to fall and roll and 2) to "feel" the student(s) waza and where correction was needed. Any Instructor/shihan that takes falls for their students will always be great in their student's eyes. I do it all the time, others don't. Their choice but I feel if I don't take ukemi for my students, I won't know where they need work. Being thrown is no disgrace but a learning tool and that's what is needed.
Tanto was added because of the need, maybe, for close in fighting. While the bo and jo are fun to work with, I don't see a whole lot of people walking down the street with one. However, a tanto can be used and carried easily. If I don't have a tanto, I can pick up a stick, branch, a pipe etc and use it like a tanto in my defense if needed. Tanto is a training tool and it develops the skill needed to use it when necessary.
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Old 05-20-2010, 12:51 PM   #10
dps
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Re: Training with Tomiki Sensei

As I understand Tomiki Sensei was continually researching and refining Tomiki Aikido. Were you present long enough to see any of these changes?

David
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Old 05-20-2010, 01:05 PM   #11
Phil Van Treese
Dojo: Tampa Judo and Aikido Dojo, Tampa, Fl
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Re: Training with Tomiki Sensei

Tomiki Shihan was always refining his aikido. Refining/taking big moves and making them small and swift---sort of like Small Circle Theory. Compared to the "eye" of a hurricane---the bigger the "eye" the less organized and effective it is. However, the smaller the eye, the more compact and strong it is and the power then is devastating. I saw some changes but a lot were subtle changes. The one change he did insist on is a "sensitivity to touch." No one should grab you without you reacting immediately to the aggression. Whether it's the wrist, elbow, etc, "nage" (tori is used also), should react immediately with a technique. Other than that, practice hard and be respectful of others.
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